PSNI officer faces discipline over ‘young loyalists’ tweet

PSNI tweet
PSNI tweet

A police officer is facing disciplinary action over a tweet blaming “young loyalists” for broken glass and other rubbish strewn outside a Belfast care home.

Following disorder in the Woodvale Road area last year, the PSNI in north Belfast posted a comment on Twitter with a photograph of a large amount of riot debris at the front of Mount Eden Court.

It read: “Young loyalists in Woodvale leave entrance to older people’s home in a state two years after last time. Appalling.”

A young DUP activist, who was in the area at the time and witnessed the disorder, complained to the Police Ombudsman that the debris in the picture was the result of riot squad officers breaking bottles to prevent them being thrown again by rioters.

Writing on Facebook afterwards Dale Pankhurst, chairman of the DUP’s North and West Belfast youth branch, said: “Sometimes the police chastise the general public to be careful on social media. Perhaps now they will learn from this idiotic mistake and be careful in what they publish in future.”

The post was removed by the PSNI following complaints from Mr Pankhurst and community representatives.

As a result of the complaint against police, the ombudsman concluded “that the information in the tweet could not be verified” and recommended that the officer responsible face disciplinary action.